Anyone know a SELF HOSTED Email Marketing Software?

16 replies
Hi, I'm looking for SELF HOSTED software to do email marketing.

Key functionalities it must have are:

- Contact Management
- Autoresponder
- List Management
- Sending emails via external SMTP provider
- Contacts subscribe
- Contact TAGS
- Custom Fields
- MUST support Dynamic Content (based on custom field value, insert a certain text)
- Webhooks (i.e. call external URL before sending an email)
- WAIT function. (Only send the next email when the contact clicks a link or gets a tag)
- Lead Engagement Scoring (assign points to certain actions, like opening an email, clicking a link)

I currently use ActiveCampaign for this, but I want to have it self hosted.
#email #hosted #marketing #software
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay Brazen
    Sean Donahue has a WordPress hosted email marketing software called Rapid Mailer. Give it a search.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Iannotti
    Smarter Mail by Smartertools.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rok Solid
    Hey Maurice,

    I'm hesitant to recommend a self hosted autoresponder to you because of the headache involved. I've tried both Rapid Mailer and Mautic and, while they are probably very capable programs, they both require someone with at least some tech skills to maintain them.

    If you're able to deal with this yourself that's great but just keep in mind your time has value and maintaining an email software might not be the most profitable use of your time.

    Alternatively if you plan to hire someone to maintain the software well you might as well stick with Active campaign since they're already experts.

    I hired someone on Fiverr to set up Mautic for me because I simply couldn't figure it out myself. I think I'm fairly techie but I just couldn't get it to work. I paid $80 to set it up and then didn't use it for a while. When I finally tested it the automated emails didn't fire.

    I have a feeling the issue was my hosting service but I'm not 100% sure.

    Another big problem with self hosted solutions is that, if your website gets hacked or crashes for whatever reason, your email service is now at risk too. Personally I like to keep my email and website separated so that issues with one don't affect the other.

    If you're looking for a way to save on this unavoidable cost of doing business online I'd suggest you work on improving your email conversion rates instead of avoiding the email software monthly bill. The ROI on this alone will far surpass the little you'll save ten fold.

    I've heard great things about Drip's tool and they have a free version allowing up to 100 subscribers if you want to check it out.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author roberthull99
    Why are you looking to leave ActiveCampaign?

    I've tried a few self-hosted solutions.

    At one time ArpReach was really good, but these guys have seriously gone downhill lately. Their software now has some serious issues, and their customer service is terrible.

    Mautic is a great one with some excellent features, but setting it up is a chore, and the interface is slow and sluggish.

    One big problem with all self-hosted solutions is a huge lack of integration with other software, like shopping carts.

    For someone starting out who doesn't have much money, you could start with a self-hosted solution, but I would strongly recommend moving onto a hosted solution with monthly fees as soon as possible.

    I'm actually looking to transition from Mautic to Activecampaign, so I'll be interested in knowing why you are looking to leave Activecampaign.
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    • Profile picture of the author MauriceW
      Originally Posted by roberthull99 View Post

      Why are you looking to leave ActiveCampaign?

      I'm actually looking to transition from Mautic to Activecampaign, so I'll be interested in knowing why you are looking to leave Activecampaign.
      Hi Robert,

      Well, as a matter of fact there are a couple of things I want to improve, which I cannot do with AC. The most important thing is that their deliverability is not that good. I see many complaints on the internet about their deliverability and I've experienced it myself too.

      Then I have several funnels and I am building many more. And for each funnel I need a separate AC account. That means building up everything from scratch (automations, etc.) for every account.

      These funnels are pretty big and complex and AC does not offer an option (yet) to duplicate an account. It literally takes 2 months to rebuild a complete AC funnel. That is too long. What I want is a possibility to copy everything, after which I can start changing the email content, etc.

      With a self hosted solution I have the control I need and want. I can copy all the files + database, make some adjustments, so that it works on a new domain, and done. Could be done in a day.

      A third issue is security. It's impossible with AC to backup an account. You rely 100% on their system. If something happens, you could be in trouble. I like to have more control over this.

      So far, I'm testing Mautic and it seems it can do the job. I got it up and running in a couple of hours and it works great. Mails are triggered correctly, etc. I still need to perform some more tests, and when all needed functionality is there, I will make the switch to Mautic.

      Oh, last but not least, pricing. it's not THAT important, but it plays a minor role too.

      Even though I know supporting my own self hosted system costs money too, I don't calcultate those costs (which I already have, no matter what), in the ROI per funnel. Those costs are general business costs and booked on another budget.

      So when the AC costs disappear, the ROI per funnel will increase, making it easier to upscale the advertising campaigns.

      These are my main reasons for moving to a self hosted solution.

      What are your reasons to go the opposite way? Issues with Mautic?
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      • Profile picture of the author roberthull99
        Wow, thanks for the heads up, I had no idea AC had so many problems with it. I will definitely do more research now before jumping in. I don't know why I thought AC would be the golden egg in autoresponders I was looking for.

        I totally understand the need to minimize costs, no need to explain yourself there. I'm happy to pay extra for a service that saves me time and makes me more sales, but if you can achieve the same with a cheaper service, why not.

        By one AC account per funnel, do you mean you have to take on an extra recurrent monthly expense per account? So you pay double the amount for two funnels vs one funnel?

        My gripe with Mautic is I'm not at all tech savvy, and I prefer to have a team of reliable people working around the clock to keep things running smoothly, as you would with a system where you pay a monthly fee. Sometimes things go wrong, either with mautic, or with my hosting, and I have to spend a lot of time trying to fix it.

        My main problem though, is there aren't many services that integrate with Mautic. I want to be able to track which emails my sales are coming from, and I can't do this with Mautic because it doesn't integrate with any of the shopping carts I'm using.

        I once used Ontraport, and man, that was like a dream come true. Such a slick interface, good deliverability, amazing segmentation, and since autoresponder and shopping cart were all in one, there was perfect tracking between emails and sales. But alas, since Google killed my SEO-reliant business, I've been reluctant to invest $300/month on it.
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        • Profile picture of the author MauriceW
          Originally Posted by roberthull99 View Post

          I had no idea AC had so many problems with it.
          Hi Robert, well, the problems I have with AC may not be important to someone else. So it's defnitely wise to investigate and see what's important to you.

          And yes, creating a new AC account for each funnel, means extra recurrent monthly expenses, which lowers the funnel ROI.

          And I certainly don't mind paying, but if costs can be minimized without losing (critical) functionality, it's good or the ROI per funnel.

          As for tracking, I have built my own tracking and every action AC takes is also sent from AC, via a Webhook, to my tracking. The same applies to my website and webshop.So for me the tracking is external from the automation. That's why I'm happy with Mautic's webhook functionality.

          What I saw is that there is a Woocommerce/ Mautic extension. It has a one time cost. As far as I remember it's $79. And one time costs are okay. It only impacts the first months funnel ROI. So if you use WordPress+WooCommerce you can attach that to your Mautic installation.
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          • Profile picture of the author Brian Abrams
            Originally Posted by MauriceW View Post

            Hi Robert, well, the problems I have with AC may not be important to someone else. So it's defnitely wise to investigate and see what's important to you.

            And yes, creating a new AC account for each funnel, means extra recurrent monthly expenses, which lowers the funnel ROI.

            And I certainly don't mind paying, but if costs can be minimized without losing (critical) functionality, it's good or the ROI per funnel.

            As for tracking, I have built my own tracking and every action AC takes is also sent from AC, via a Webhook, to my tracking. The same applies to my website and webshop.So for me the tracking is external from the automation. That's why I'm happy with Mautic's webhook functionality.

            What I saw is that there is a Woocommerce/ Mautic extension. It has a one time cost. As far as I remember it's $79. And one time costs are okay. It only impacts the first months funnel ROI. So if you use WordPress+WooCommerce you can attach that to your Mautic installation.
            Just curious, why do you need a separate account for each funnel?
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            • Profile picture of the author MauriceW
              Originally Posted by Brian Abrams View Post

              Just curious, why do you need a separate account for each funnel?
              Strictly technically spoken, it shoud be possible to have everything in one account.

              However, My funnels are pretty 'large' and complex. So I discussed this with AC and they adviced strongly to setup a separate account for each funnel. The main reason is that if you don't you can very easily lose track of things and mix things up.

              I asked them for a good way to separate things, like creating a top level 'company' or something like that. But they don't have that.

              So, ALL Automations, Deals, etc, will sit together next to each other. And making mistakes and troubleshooting will become very difficult if you have more funnels together in one account.

              Just imagine having 20 funnels, all together in one account. Brrr. It would look like a spider's web.
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  • Profile picture of the author Doug Pretorius
    @MauriceW I was going to suggest Mautic as well since it can do everything you listed, but I see you're already testing it out. I assume you've already discovered that you can duplicate funnels by clicking "Clone" in the dropdown menu on the Campaigns page.

    @Rok Solid You can solve the issue of keeping your website and email separate by hosting Mautic on a separate server. That's what I'm doing. I have my wordpress sites on a shared host with Interserver and my Mautic install on a VPS with Amazon EC2.

    @roberthull99 Mautic's interface shouldn't be sluggish. Server issue maybe?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sandrajankowski
    If you are still wondering what is self-hosted - you will need to host the email platform on your own on your server. Typically, you'll be given a software which can be installed on a VPS or cloud VM.

    Installing them is not a difficult task. Most of them provide explicit instruction and by following that you should be able to get your self-hosted email platform ready in less than one hour.

    Switching your campaigns to self-hosted services can save thousands of dollars which is why a lot of organizations are actively opting for it.

    Mailtrain
    Sendy
    NuevoMailer
    Dada Mail
    MoonMail
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  • Profile picture of the author calvynlee
    can mailit plugin and mailster plugin consider an email marketing software for self-hosted?

    I am trying mailit and will test mailster soon
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  • Profile picture of the author Stardustpoint
    Mautic is the best for Free! I grew a list to 474K people in just a matter of weeks. I used AWS Mail for the email program. You need a autresponder email system. You PHP list was ok but once again it is free and you need to get Hosting company approval to send mail through it.

    You can use texting also! but need a twilio account
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  • Profile picture of the author James Foster
    Mautic.org all the way.
    It's self hosted and open source.
    It's as good as active campaign - but free
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  • Profile picture of the author John963
    I'd go with self hosted (Mautic or any other one you want) because You OWN your data and have 100% control.

    Also assuming you take regular backups you can simply restore/migrate to any server.

    I self host and for me its the number 1 reason I can sleep easy.

    Sure if you use a 3rd party autoresponder you could backup your subscriber list, but you'll still need to copy paste all your autoresponders to your new 3rd party autoresponder service.

    It would be so much simpler to just restore my backup of my files + database of my self hosted autoresponder (to any server). Better for my subscribers because they will just continue were they left off and quicker and easier restore for me.

    I've never had to restore my server but its nice to know I have my backup ready to go should the worst happen.
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